Truth is a concept of the Euro-West

This is interesting.

Historically, white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity, and wielded a dichotomy of ‘subjectivity vs. objectivity’ as a means of silencing oppressed peoples. The idea that there is a single truth–‘the Truth’–is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment, which was a movement that also described Black and Brown people as both subhuman and impervious to pain. This construction is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny. The idea that the truth is an entity for which we must search, in matters that endanger our abilities to exist in open spaces, is an attempt to silence oppressed peoples.

Not a new idea either. I have had people question objective truth on more than a few occasions. Here is an example from this very blog.

“I would argue there is no such thing as an absolute truth. Things we thought true hundreds of years ago are now seen as fantasy, and 200 years from now will probably be no different.”

My question today, as it has always been when people question objective truth, is this.

Is “there is no such thing as truth” a truth claim that should be believed? Or is it self-refuting and logically incoherent?



Categories: Christianity, Misc.

15 replies

  1. The Enlightenment had its drawbacks, and some elements were hostile to faith. Humans can know the truth, but we know it in a human way which includes subjectivity and cultural knowledge. God understands this, which is why his Revelation is Jesus Christ, a man, and it is preserved in the cultural tradition of the church.

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  2. God is Truth. If you don’t believe that then there is no such thing as truth/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is kind of an interesting discussion that is going on within our culture right now. The instinct, especially within conservative Christianity, is to become more rational, ultra rational, as if a broken world can be fixed by just applying more reason, more objective truth. I caution against strategy that because I believe it’s the wrong response.
    Truth really is a concept of the euro West, a product of the enlightenment and post modernism. In our faith, the Truth is actually a person, “I am the way and the life and the Truth,” and grace is scandalous, irrational, at least to human eyes. An insistence that a group of people could possess “absolute truth” is why Martin Luther nailed his thesis on the church door, and it’s why America broke away from England.

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    • You lost me when you mentioned Luther. The Catholic Church at the time believe they had the market cornered on truth, Luther disagreed, hence the 95 Theses which he believed to be the thruth.

      Problem with truth is that exists independently of what people think and what they believe they posses.

      As Ronald Reagan once said, “people are entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts.”

      I posted this, really, to shine a light on the idea that there are people who believe there is no such thing as absolute truth and that the idea is self-refuting and absurd.

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      • Well, I do tend to believe that focusing on absolute truth, as if we and we alone possess it, is the same mistake the Catholic church once made.

        There really is a subjectivity to truth that we in faith need to come to terms with. Far too often our attitude is, I possess Absolute Truth and your perceptions are wrong, so you are crazy. That is part of the reason why there are so many divisions among us today and people are not actually talking to one another.

        It is really not so absurd that somebody standing at the back end of an elephant is going to perceiving reality differently from someone up front handling the elephant’s trunk. It’s all an elephant, but arguing that the trunk represents Absolute Truth and the back end does not, is also false, not factual.

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        • If we don’t preach the tenants of Christinity as absolute truths then the only options are that they are lies or true for some people but not for others.

          I understand what you are saying about subjectivity bu there is no room for it in matters of faith.

          Jesus said, ” I am the way, the truth, and the life…” Anything that opposes that cannot be rooted in truth. If someone believes anything other than that they are not necessarily crazy but they are, in fact, wrong.

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          • Well, Absolute Truth actually says, “they are true for some people and not for others.” Whether you believe Jesus is your Savior or you believe He isn’t, you are probably right about that. So our perceptions do have a way of becoming our very reality. I can’t really tell a non believer you are wrong, wrong, wrong, because actually he is standing in condemnation as we all are outside of Jesus Christ. He is right, in his world there really is no Savior.

            Often it does absolutely no good to bash people over the head with their wrongness. Absolute Truth does little to win over hearts and minds.

            You see this same problem in our politics. Rather then stepping into some else’s subjective reality and accepting that they might be right, we tend to resort to that Euro American definition of “truth.”

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            • Let’s look at this in a different context, IB.

              The Earth is either round or flat yet people argue passionately for their truth when, simply by the the law of non-contradiction, one of those groups is flat wrong.

              Same thing goes with Jesus when He said He was the way, the truth….Either He was or He wasn’t, a person’s belief has nothing to do with it.

              True, it does no good to bash people over the head, you are correct. But that is where sharing the truth in love comes in.

              It does no good to obscure the truth in the name of not bashing people in the head either. In fact, it puts people who believe in subjective truth firmly on the wide path that leads to destruction.

              Politics is another story all together. If you listen, quite often you will here people arguing over opinions while ignoring facts all together. Politics, despite what the pundits who are played to argue about it will tell you, politics is way more black and white than most people think it is.

              Let me give you an exam there. Socialism is objectively bad, it’s been tried, it doesn’t work, it will always fail, no its, ands, or bits. Yet people argue about it, why? Because they’ve been told things aren’t (and can’t be) objectively true or false.

              Giving the concept of subjective truth any creedence at all (even as a devil’s advocate) is exceptionally dangerous.

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              • Well you have kind of demonstrated how truth really is a concept of the EuroWest, as if it is something that can be owned and claimed like territory, as if it is all about conquest by so called facts.

                The march towards socialism is not because people have been told things can’t be objectively true or false, it is because those of us who know the truth refuse to listen to them, and in our hubris we simply run about proclaiming they are being absurd and violating the laws of objective reality.

                If we actually want to change hearts and minds then subjective truth must be given some credence and we have to humble ourselves enough to be willing to engage with the culture and their ideas.

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                • “…those of us who know [have the market cornered on, control, own] the truth refuse to.losten to them, and in our hubris we simply run around proclaiming that they are being absurd…”

                  They are being absurd and that is the case because they are arguing from their own set of facts that contradict absolute truth.

                  You are 100 percent correct in saying there are a lot of people who lack tact and grace but shunning facts in order to give subjective truth some credence is not the way to do it.

                  Jesus did not say He was the way, the truth, and the life then leave that up for debate and discussion by people who believe things can be true for some people but not for others.

                  I think we mostly agree here but seem to be talking past each other.

                  Also. The march toward socialism exists simply because people believe what they have been taught even though it is objectively false.

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  4. Depends on rather we believe God’s word or not.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. In the argument of subjective vs. objective truth, we seem to forget that the purpose of language is to communicate the truth of reality. Even those who argue for no absolute truth are trying to say something about reality and how it functions. The problem with this argument is not only that it falls face-first into the law of non-contradiction but it also sabotages any of the sentences that have been used in its defense. No one can “truly” argue for no absolute truth if there are no true definitions of words that we have all agreed exist and are viable for use. As John Piper points out in his book “Think”:
    “When objective truth vanishes in the fog of relativism, the role of language changes dramatically…The goal of language is no longer the communication of reality but the manipulation of reality. It no longer functions in the glorious capacity of affirming the embrace of truth, but now it functions in the devious capacity of concealing defection from the truth.”

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  6. God’s Word has the answer: Yahushua/Jesus says “I am the Way, the TRUTH, and the Light”.
    I have just nominated you for the “Mystery Blogger Award”. Here’s the link: https://rachealnovel.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/mystery-blogger-award/

    Like

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